Note: This is intended as an FYI piece….nothing more……
We are having a helluva time with North Korea….some want it destroyed completely…..while others are not do demanding….but with all that aside what do we know about North Korea?
We know that it is a closed state…a communist state……we know that the people are super poor…..we know that their leadership is bit off (for lack of a better word)…..that it is isolated from the rest of the world….but how true is that statement?
It may be called the “hermit kingdom,” but an analysis by the Wall Street Journal shows that North Korea is hardly isolated. In fact, it maintains political and economic ties with 164 nations and has embassies in 47 of them. China is, of course, its biggest trade partner by far, with India second. Pyongyang, however, has relationships of various kinds all over the globe, from supplying construction workers in the Mideast to providing military training in Africa. All in all, these ties have helped the North “amass the money and technical know-how to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.” The full breakdown is here.
I keep hearing about the 500,000 people that died of starvation in the years pass and I hear about the crap the government pulls from people that have escaped to the “West”……but how accurate are these accounts…I am NOT saying they are not just we have no way to confirm their tales……
A blogging friend, Pete, owner of the WP site Beetleypete recently sent me a link to a journal a German who now lives in the UK kept when he visited NK……I would like for my readers that are interested to read it also…..
Welcome to my North Korean travel diary, April 29 – May 6, 2002!
This guide is entirely unpolitical and has no hidden agenda. I am not a journalist, politician or historian. I’m doing this diary as much for myself as a reminder of a once-in-a-lifetime trip as for the information of prospective travellers.
It had been in the back of my mind for well over ten years that I wanted to see the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (to give it its full name) in the flesh, but I never did get round to doing much about it.
However, seeing all the other communist countries fall by the wayside and embrace capitalism, I felt it was time to have a close look at this last remaining ‘socialist paradise’ before it’d be too late.
Political propaganda and the inherent cult of personality fascinate me. Stalin and Ceausescu may have tried something similar in their spheres of influence, but they failed to create anything like the reverence paid to Kim Il Sung, the founder of the DPRK and its president even eight years after his death!
Disclaimer: I am by NO means suggesting that anyone take up their passports and head for North Korea…..but after years of horror stories I thought that this would be yet another source of information for my readers.